• Start saving for your down payment as early as possible. This one’s simple enough: The more that you pay off in your down payment is less that you’ll have to pay interest on later. Set up a savings account and track your progress.
  • Stay organized as if your life depended on it. The easier it is to access necessary files and information, the less stress you’ll feel throughout the homebuying process. Make a small investment in file folders, if you prefer paper copies of information, or make the commitment to create a digital folder with scanned documents. If you choose the digital route, be sure to back up copies of the folder to avoid losing all of your information.
  • Research more than just the property. Buying a home is only half of the process. Be sure that the neighborhood has all of the amenities that you’re searching for, whether that is a great school system, low commute times, or access to a local bike trail. While it’s impractical to think that you’re going to find everything that you’re searching for, don’t buy a home that isn’t going to make you feel safe or that is too much of a drive away from your frequently visited places.
  • Don’t buy more than you can afford. You have to be candid with yourself and with your mortgage lender about what you’re truly looking to pay for your home. Blowing your budget means struggling later, especially when it’s almost assured that you can find something that works with a little more digging.
  • Check your credit score often. Most credit card companies now provide a free credit score from one of the top 3 providers and it’s updated monthly, along with your statement. If it’s low, take measures to raise it, like paying down credit bills. If you’re where you’d like to be, avoid opening new lines of credit. Every inquiry lowers your score.